PROLOGUE: Thanks to all of you, who had signed the petition to Judge Anthony Trenga and provided support against the injustice. The struggle to squash the exorbitant and unjustified fine continues.
Judge Releases Manning After Suicide Attempt, Effectively Fines Her Supporters $256,000
By Caitlin Johnstone - 13.
Judge releases Manning: Whistleblower Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning has been released after a suicide attempt, now facing fines of US$256,000.
Judge Anthony Trenga Releases Manning
after her suicide attempt. A federal judge has released whistleblower Chelsea Manningfrom jail following a suicide attempt and a year behind bars, while ordering her to pay more than a quarter-million dollars in contempt of court fines. After spending seven years in prison under draconian conditionsfor exposing US war crimes, Manning was re-imprisoned one year ago in an attempt to coerce her to testify in a grand jury related to WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange. When Manning continued to refuse to testify on a principled stand of opposition to the unjust and corrupt practice of secret grand juries, she began getting slammed with fines of $1,000 per day in an attempt by judge Anthony Trenga to “coerce” her into testifying.
Those fines now amount to $256,000 as Trenga finally orders her release, stating that “the business of Grand Jury 19-3 had concluded” and “the Court finds that Ms Manning’s appearance before the Grand Jury is no longer needed.”
Trenga denied Manning’s attempts to dismiss the fines, despite her legal team challenging that “She has no personal savings, an uncertain speaking career that has been abruptly halted by her incarceration, and is moving her few belongings into storage, as she can no longer afford to pay her rent.”
— Kelly Wright (@anarchakelly) March 13, 2020
Chelsea Manning was released from prison!!
… but the government has still fined her around a quarter of a million dollars. please donate if you can: https://t.co/z0uSPGVOlk
— Olive Rae Brinker (@olivebrinker) March 12, 2020
And of course this just amounts to a fine on Manning’s supporters, because we obviously aren’t going to let a heroic whistleblower be saddled with crushing debt for the rest of her life. Whistleblowers around the world have been watching Manning’s fines grow day by day and thinking “Man, that’s gonna take a bite.” It’s stupid and ugly that this is even necessary, but of course we’re going to take care of her.
Here’s a link to her Action Network legal defense website, and here’s a link to her GoFundMe. If you can’t afford to donate, you can also help by sharing these links on social media and drawing attention to her cause for those who can.
There is zero risk of over-donating to this cause. Even if Manning manages to get the ridiculous punitive sanctions overturned somehow, and hopefully she can, she’s starting her life over again with nothing after years of unjust brutalization, and she needs all the help she can get. She was making a living with a speaking career prior to her re-imprisonment, and now she’s being released just as all public events are being cancelled around the world.
Anything and everything we can do to help her will be much needed, and will be going toward as just a cause as you can possibly imagine.
After speaking to @xychelsea‘s lawyers: Her state was critical but stable now.
— Nils Melzer (@NilsMelzer) March 12, 2020
Again, Manning attempted suicide in jail prior to her release and is still recovering. UN Special Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer, the second UN Special Rapporteur to speak out against her brutal treatment at the hands of the US government, said that “Such acts of desperation are typical for the confusion, dehumanisation and suffering deliberately inflicted through prolonged psychological torture.”
“In contrast to physical torture, which uses the body and its physiological needs as a conduit for affecting the victim’s mind and emotions, psychological torture does so by directly targeting basic psychological needs, such as security, self-determination, dignity and identity, environmental orientation, emotional rapport, and communal trust,” Melzer recently wrote of this abusive tactic.
So this is a deeply needful person we are talking about here. Anything we can do to take some of the stress of living off of her and show her there are caring people in this world is an objectively good thing, because we need her to stick around. This world needs more people like Chelsea Manning, not one less.
Caitlin Johnstone - Rogue journalist. Bogan socialist. Anarcho-psychonaut. Guerilla poet. Utopia prepper. Proudly 100 percent reader-funded through Patreon and Paypal. Much work done with assistance from soulmate/brother-in-arms/co-conspirator Tim Foley. Read Caitlin’s articles on Medium here or on Steemit here, follow her on Twitter here, and follow her on Facebook here. If you would like to support Caitlin, you can share her articles around, buy her book, or throw some coin in her hat on Patreon or Paypal. Shine on.
Whistleblower Chelsea Manning Ordered Immediately Released From Federal Holding
By Sputnik - 12 March 2020
US District Judge Anthony J. Trenga ordered whistleblower Chelsea Manning released from detention on Thursday, a day after she attempted to take her own life. However, he did not release her from the fines she incurred as punishment, which total a quarter of a million dollars.
"Upon consideration of the Court's May 16, 2019, order, the motion, and the court's March 12, 2020, order discharging Grand Jury 19-3, the court finds that Ms. Manning's appearance before the grand jury is no longer needed, in light of which her detention no longer serves any coercive purpose," Judge Trenga wrote in a Thursday court order. "The court further finds that enforcement of the accrued conditional fines would not be punitive but rather necessary to the coercive purpose of the court's civil contempt order."
"According, it is hereby ordered that Chelsea Manning be, and she hereby is, immediately released from the custody of the attorney general," he wrote.
However, the judge denied Manning's request to have waived $256,000 in fines she had accrued since the previous May, which he added as an additional coercive measure to try and force her to testify.
The decision comes a day after Manning attempted to end her life while in Virginia's Alexandria Detention Center and a day before she was due to appear in court regarding a February 19 motion for her release. She has been in detention since March 2019 for her refusal to testify before a grand jury about her interactions with WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, who helped her publish a trove of stolen US government documents in 2010 revealing US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Manning, then a US Army intelligence analyst, was tried and sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013 for that crime, but released in 2017 when departing US President Barack Obama commuted her sentence.
Her detention has been protested by tens of thousands of activists, academics, politicians, and sympathetic persons, including the United Nations' special rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, who wrote a letter to the US government in November denouncing her treatment and calling for her release.
On Wednesday, Melzer wrote on Twitter that Manning's suicide attemptwas "typical for the confusion, dehumanisation & suffering deliberately inflicted through prolonged psychological torture."
Assange was arrested in the United Kingdom a month after Manning was detained, and the US Department of Justice revealed he was charged with 18 counts relating to his publication of Manning's documents. The first round ofAssange's extradition hearings in London happened last week, which could see him shipped to the US for trial.
Anti-War Activist Chelsea Manning Attempted Suicide in Prison
She has been pressured to cooperate with an investigation against journalists who expose government misdeeds.
By teleSUR - 12. March 2020
Former U.S. Army Intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning attempted suicide on Wednesday at a detention center in Virginia, where she has been incarcerated since March 2019 for her refusal to give testimony before a grand jury convened to investigate and prosecute journalists whose work threatens to expose government misdeeds.
The anti-war activist, who is currently recovering her health at the hospital, was scheduled to appear before a judge regarding a motion seeking to end the civil contempt sanctions she faces.
"Ms. Manning is still scheduled to appear on Friday for a previously-calendared hearing, at which Judge Anthony Trenga will rule on a motion to terminate the civil contempt sanctions stemming from her May 2019 refusal to give testimony before a grand jury investigating the publication of her 2010 disclosures," Manning's lawyers said.
U.S. prosecutors have kept Manning in jail under “coercive confinement”, which means that she will be held in jail until she agrees to cooperate and testify about her association with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
"Coercive confinement is considered a violation of international law, but the U.S. authorizes its use to enforce cooperation with grand jury subpoenas...
Since Chelsea will never betray her principles, her confinement is not coercive, but punitive, and must not continue," organizations supporting the anti-war activist said.
Before being at the Alexandria Detention Center, Manning served seven years in a military prison on the same charges that are currently being brought against her.
Assange, Manning, Snowden, the true Heroes of our days! https://twitter.com/AnonScan/status/1238004257422544896 …
A.Stepanian:"Her [@xychelsea] actions today evidence the strength of her convictions,as well as the profound harm she continues to suffer as a result of her 'civil' confinement-a coercive practice that UN Rapporteur on Torture,@NilsMelzer recently said violates international law"
Her lawyers have also assured that "she will not betray her principles, even at the risk of serious damage herself."
In 2019, in a letter to Judge Anthony Trenga, Manning said that the judicial process against her only seeks to intimidate journalists and editors who dare to fulfill what society demands of them, namely, to report the truth.
While a military intelligence analyst in 2010, Manning leaked more than 700,000 classified documents on the U.S. military and political actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. This information exposed the true reasons that motivated Washington to militarily attack these countries.
In August 2013, a military court sentenced the former US soldier to 35 years in prison. Later, however, the then-President Barack Obama commuted his sentence.
A Real American Hero: Chelsea Manning Is Free
War criminals like Obama won Nobel peace prizes, or became like Tony Blair a millionaire Middle East "peace" envoy, while Chelsea was locked up and abused for releasing evidence of U.S. war crimes. Just another day in the U.S. Empire.
Help Chelsea Manning Pay Her Court Fines organized
Chelsea has been released! She still owes $256,000 in fines though. Thanks for donating what you can and spreading the word. https://web.facebook.com/savemanning/
Manning’s legal fundraiser is raising money for legal fees, court transcripts and attorney travel fees. If you don’t personally have the funds to donate, consider sending the link to friends or family who might.
WikiLeaks: Collateral Murder (Iraq, 2007)
The Assange Trial: A Self-Contradictory Kafkaesque Nightmare
By Caitlin Johnstone - 28.
The Assange trial has paused for now.
The first week of the Julian Assange extradition trial has concluded, to be resumed on May 18th. If you haven’t been following the proceedings closely, let me sum up what you missed.
The prosecution is working to extradite Assange to the US under a US-UK extradition treaty, a treaty whose contents the prosecution now says we should ignore because they explicitly forbid political extraditions. The prosecution says it doesn’t matter anyway because Assange is not a political actor, yet in 2010 the US government that’s trying to extradite him labeled him a political actor in those exact words. Assange’s trial is taking place in a maximum security prison for dangerous violent offenders because that’s where he’s being jailed for no stated reason and despite having no history of violence, which means he’s kept separate from the courtroom in a sound-resistant safety enclosure where he can’t hear or participate in his own trial. The magistrate judging the case says he can’t be allowed out of the enclosure since he’s considered dangerous, because he’s been arbitrarily placed in a prison for dangerous violent offenders. The magistrate keeps telling Assange to stop speaking up during his trial and to speak through his lawyers, yet he’s being actively prevented from communicating with his lawyers.
Not even a tiny bit?
Oh. Okay. Let me explain.
A British human rights and law reform organisation found that keeping a defendant locked in a sound-resistant glass cage apart from the courtroom, as they're doing to Assange currently, necessarily breaches their right to a fair trial. https://twitter.com/JUSTICEhq/status/1232964630932226049 …
JUSTICE report concluded that the dock breaches the right to a fair trial in all cases https://justice.org.uk/in-the-dock/ Julian Assange asks to sit with lawyers for extradition case https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/feb/26/julian-assange-lawyers-argue-us-charges-are-purely-political?CMP=share_btn_tw …
It’s common in British courtrooms to have something called a “dock”, a place where defendants sit separately from court proceedings. Not all UK courtrooms have docks, and not all docks are the “secure” glass cabinet type which Assange is kept in; they can also be open wooden enclosures. Because Assange is being kept without explanation in a maximum security prison normally reserved the most dangerous violent offenders and terrorism convicts, his trial is taking place in a cage that is very much the “secure” type (so much so that he’s been complaining that he can’t hear the proceedings in his own trial through the bulletproof glass), and there is an expectation that he remain there. The magistrate has ruled that this nonviolent offender shall be kept in his sound-resistant enclosure throughout the duration of his trial, bizarrely asserting that Assange poses a danger to the public.
Former UK ambassador and longtime Assange supporter Craig Murray was at court all four days of the trial, and he described the situation as follows (Edward Fitzgerald is Assange’s defense attorney, Vanessa Baraitser is the magistrate):
On return, Edward Fitzgerald made a formal application for Julian to be allowed to sit beside his lawyers in the court. Julian was “a gentle, intellectual man” and not a terrorist. Baraitser replied that releasing Assange from the dock into the body of the court would mean he was released from custody. To achieve that would require an application for bail.
Again, the prosecution counsel James Lewis intervened on the side of the defence to try to make Julian’s treatment less extreme. He was not, he suggested diffidently, quite sure that it was correct that it required bail for Julian to be in the body of the court, or that being in the body of the court accompanied by security officers meant that a prisoner was no longer in custody. Prisoners, even the most dangerous of terrorists, gave evidence from the witness box in the body of the court nest to the lawyers and magistrate. In the High Court prisoners frequently sat with their lawyers in extradition hearings, in extreme cases of violent criminals handcuffed to a security officer.
Baraitser replied that Assange might pose a danger to the public. It was a question of health and safety.
Ah yes, yes I’m sure everyone at the courtroom is very concerned that the emaciated computer nerd might at any moment go full beast mode and start throwing them all across the room. Sure thing, Vanessa.
So to recap, Assange has been placed in a prison for dangerous offenders for no reason, and he’s designated too dangerous to participate in his own trial because he’s in a prison for dangerous offenders. Both the defense and the prosecution agree that this is absurd, yet the supposedly impartial judge ruled against them both.
Does that make sense to you?
Good. Means you’re sane.
Your Man in the Public Gallery – The Assange Hearing Day 3 - In yesterday's proceedings in court, the prosecution adopted arguments so stark and apparently unreasonable I have been fretting on how to write them up in a way that does not seem like https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/02/your-man-in-the-public-gallery-the-assange-hearing-day-3/ …craigmurray.org.uk
In the same report Murray also says Assange was forbidden from passing notes to his lawyers, yet when he tried to speak up during his trial to get someone’s attention Baraitser told him he may only speak through his lawyers. Even when they let him, Shadowproof‘s Kevin Gosztola also reportsthat the defense has complained that they can’t even see when he wishes to communicate something with them, because his dock is behind them in the courtroom.
Bridges for Media Freedom reports the following:
Assange then stood up in the dock and said, “The problem is I’m not able to get representation.” Judge Baraitser then told him to “keep quiet and speak through his lawyers.” He replied, “That’s the problem, I can’t.”
Assange has also complained that even when he is both able and permitted to speak to his lawyers during the trial, he’s unable to do so in private, saying, “I cannot communicate with my lawyers or ask them for clarifications without the other side seeing” and “The other side has about 100 times more contact with their lawyers per day.”
“I am as much a participant in these proceedings as a spectator at Wimbledon,” a frustrated Assange complained at one point.
So Assange may only speak through his lawyers, but also he’s been presented with many obstacles to speaking with his lawyers. Perfectly normal stuff in a perfectly normal trial being treated in a perfectly normal way by a perfectly normal empire.
It’s pretty clear by the way Baraitser is even more biased against Assange than the actual prosecutors that she made up her mind how she’s going to rule long before the trial even began. This is made all the more shady by the fact that there are apparently no photographs of this public official anywhere online, and indeed no documentation of her existence outside of the court.
“Ms Baraitser is not fond of photography – she appears to be the only public figure in Western Europe with no photo on the internet,” wrote Murray after noting her anger at someone photographing the courtroom. “Indeed the average proprietor of a rural car wash has left more evidence of their existence and life history on the internet than Vanessa Baraitser. Which is no crime on her part, but I suspect the expunging is not achieved without considerable effort. Somebody suggested to me she might be a hologram, but I think not. Holograms have more empathy.”
This by itself is weird. How is someone with no public face ruling on an extradition trial of such immense historical significance? How is a public official allowed to make a decision which will affect every member of the public in one way or another, yet the public is not allowed to know anything about her or what she even looks like? That, in my opinion, is weird and creepy.
It’s interesting. I have done some research. Baraister does not exist outside of court. Nothing. https://twitter.com/caitoz/status/1232974578588106753 …
Ah @CraigMurrayOrg says this too:
"Baraitser is not fond of photography – she appears to be the only public figure in Western Europe with no photo on the internet. Indeed the average proprietor of a rural car wash has left more evidence of their existence"https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/02/your-man-in-the-public-gallery-the-assange-hearing-day-3/ …
Then there’s the prosecution. They’re trying to argue that the US-UK extradition treaty which expressly forbids extradition for political offenses is void and inapplicable to this case because of another law called the Extradition Act which is written differently, despite the fact that the extradition treatyformed the basis for Assange’s extradition request in the first place.
“We’re in a pretty strange Alice in Wonderland world where the treaty that controls and gives rise to the request, supposedly has nothing to do with the legality of it, it’s very strange,” Fitzgerald said at one point, adding: “it is generally accepted worldwide that people should not be extradited for a non-violent offense of a political nature.”
The prosecution also attempted to argue that even if the exemptions in the extradition treaty did apply, it wouldn’t matter because Assange is not accused of anything that could be called a political offense. They said the defense must “equate what Mr Assange is alleged to have done against whether or not the only purpose was to change the government in America or induce America to change its policy, both of which we say it’s not.”
The defense correctly countered that not only was WikiLeaks trying to affect US government behavior, but that they actually succeeded in doing so. Not only that, but the US government has itself accused Assange of being a political actor who is trying to change America’s behavior.
“He’s not a journalist. He’s not a whistleblower. He is a political actor. He has a political agenda,” State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said of Assange in 2010 after WikiLeaks began exposing US war crimes. “He is trying to undermine the international system that enables us to cooperate and collaborate with other governments and to work in in multilateral settings and on a bilateral basis to help solve regional and international issues.”
In other words, Assange is a political actor who is deliberately trying to interfere with the US government agenda of world domination.
Defence counsel notes "We're in a pretty strange Alice in Wonderland world where the treaty that controls & gives rise to request supposedly has nothing to do with the legality of it, its very strange."#AssangeHearing #NoExtradition #FreeAssange
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word Kafkaesque as “of, relating to, or suggestive of Franz Kafka or his writings, especially: having a nightmarishly complex, bizarre, or illogical quality.”
“Kafka’s work is characterized by nightmarish settings in which characters are crushed by nonsensical, blind authority,” says Merriam-Webster. “Thus, the word Kafkaesque is often applied to bizarre and impersonal administrative situations where the individual feels powerless to understand or control what is happening.”
I generally try to avoid words that not everyone will understand in my writings, especially in my headlines, but, you know, damn. That’s the most perfect definition of this ridiculous bootlicking bureaucratic nightmare maze that you could possibly come up with.
We can expect more of this when the trial resumes in May, and, to be clear, this is the more just and equitable half of the fight. If Assange is successfully extradited to the United States as the mysterious Vanessa Baraitser seems primed to allow, he will face a rigged trial after he and his legal team were spied on by US intelligence agencies when preparing his defense. He and his legal team will be completely silenced from commentary on the trial, and he’ll disappear into a black hole of “Special Administrative Measures” where he won’t be heard from again.
The time to speak up for Assange and the future of press freedoms is now. Not when he’s extradited. Not after his fake trial and draconian sentencing. Now.
Rogue journalist. Bogan socialist. Anarcho-psychonaut. Guerilla poet. Utopia prepper. Proudly 100 percent reader-funded through Patreon and Paypal. Much work done with assistance from soulmate/brother-in-arms/co-conspirator Tim Foley. Read Caitlin’s articles on Medium here or on Steemit here, follow her on Twitter here, and follow her on Facebook here. If you would like to support Caitlin, you can share her articles around, buy her book, or throw some coin in her hat on Patreon or Paypal. Shine on.